Twenty years after Baruch Goldstein murdered 29 people in the Cave of Machpelah, it seems like the time has stopped in Hebron. Shops are closed, the streets are deserted, and the few remaining Palestinians know: no one cares. “The world went on with his life, nothing has changed for us.”
Sunday, early in the morning. The Abu Hadid family from Hebron begins renovating a store they own on Shuhada street in the city, dozens of meters away from the Tomb of the Patriarchs. It does not take long and group of settlers, residents of the city’s Jewish community rushes in. They unload some plastic chairs and tables opposite the entrance to the store and start eating and drinking. The goal: to make it difficult for family members to enter and exit the store in order to protest against the restoration. IDF forces and police arrive at the entrance to the cave, since they are well aware of tension in the area they stand in front of the picnic tables and create a buffer zone between the parties before the event will turn violent.
A few minutes pass and UN observers arrive as well. These are the TIPH – Temporary International Presence in Hebron. following to them, more observers arrive -organizations that probably most of the Israeli public never heard of before such as the controller accompaniment program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) and volunteers of the Christian peace delegation (CPT). Eventually it ended quietly, except for bit of shouting and swearing.
Strange situation it is whereas mixed crowds like settlers, Palestinians, soldiers, policemen, UN officials and observers Scandinavian-looking, all work or live in the area that is the size of 4.5 square kilometers, could be an opening line to a jok. However, in the last two decades, H-2 part of Hebron living area which is under Israeli control, is anything but a comic relief.
Especially not today, exactly 20 years after Dr. Baruch Goldstein entered the prayer hall for Muslims in the cave of Machpelah, armed with automatic weapons and opened fire. 29 Palestinians were killed and over a hundred injured until he ran out of bullets and was killed by the survivors. The massacre changed the course of history in Hebron even until this day.